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Anti-Poaching Agreement Reached in Effort to Halt Illegal Ivory Trade

Dzanga bai elephant slaughter, poaching
The ground is littered with decaying elephant carcasses after an ivory-fueled massacre by poachers in the Dzanga Bai clearing in the southwest corner of the Central African Republic. (Image credit: Copyright Mike Fay/WCS.)

Several African and Asian nations embroiled in the illegal trade of ivory have agreed to take urgent action to crack down on poaching, in an effort to protect vulnerable populations of elephants across Africa.

The governments of Kenya, Zambia, Gabon, Vietnam, Malaysia, China and several other key states where ivory is acquired, transported and ultimately sold, committed to 14 measures aimed at curbing the illegal ivory trade, reported the Associated Press.

"Our window of opportunity to tackle the growing illegal ivory trade is closing and if we do not stem the tide, future generations will condemn our unwillingness to act," Botswana President Ian Khama said at the summit, according to the AP. "Now is the time for Africa and Asia to join forces to protect this universally valued and much needed species."

Some of the agreed-upon measures include treating wildlife trafficking as a "serious crime," strengthening national laws against poaching and reducing global demand for illegal ivory. The pact was made at the African Elephant Summit held this week in Botswana, which was hosted in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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Denise Chow
Denise Chow is the Assistant Managing Editor at Live Science. Before joining the Live Science team in 2013, she spent two years as a staff writer for Space.com, where she wrote about rocket launches and covered NASA's final three space shuttle missions. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.